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Interview with Jason (the Cannonball) Horner, presenting “Zero to Dimensional Modeling Hero” Training Seminar for SQLSaturday Orlando


SQLSaturday Orlando is coming up quickly, set for Sept 27th. We have some amazing speakers coming from all over the state, as well as, outside of Florida. Check out our schedule to see what you can learn this year (for FREE) from our SQL Server experts. And don’t forget to register so you can secure your spot! 

In addition to SQLSaturday, each year we like to provide some deep dive training sessions the couple of days prior to the event. These trainings aren’t free, but we keep them reasonably priced ($120 per) for training that would typically cost a lot more.  It’s top notch quality training that these presenters have offered to do at a low cost because of their love for sharing what they know and have learned themselves through their own experiences. (ok, maybe a big part of it is their love for the SQL community, something many of us have been bitten by).  

This year we have the DBA seminar being held on Thursday, Sept 25th, and led by MCM (Microsoft Certified Master) David Pless (more on him and his day of training in my post next week). On Friday, Sept 26th, will be our BI focused seminar, and it is being led by another MCM (lucky us, we snagged two MCMs), Jason Horner


I was able to catch up with Jason first this past week to ask him some questions that I think will help folks get to know more about him, and just why his session might be worth their while. 

How long have you been working with SQL Server, and what brought you into working with it? 

I started working with SQL Server 6.5 / 7.0 back in early 2001 at a regional ISP. I was a Systems Administrator and my first major project was upgrading all our client databases from 7.0 to 2000. We also had a custom ecommerce platform that was based on 6.5. 

The training you are doing here for us in Orlando next month, “Zero to Dimensional Modeling Hero”, what do you hope attendees will gain from it? 

After seeing a lot of Data Warehouses at different organizations, and spending a lot of time talking with others in the industry, I saw that Dimensional modeling was a bit of a foreign concept for most people, yet it is also one of the foundational things you need to get right if the project will be a success. My class is all about helping inexperienced people jumpstart this knowledge and helping more experienced people fill in the gaps in their modeling knowledge while at the same time expose them to some patterns and concepts they may not have yet encountered in their organization. 

I see you are an MCM. How long and what exactly did it take to get this high level industry recognition? 

I achieved my first SQL Server certification MCDBA in 2001, since then I have always tried to stay on top of the Microsoft database related certifications, when they announced the changes in the MCM program in 2010, I was intrigued and began to study up primarily using the videos and setting up a lab using Azure VM’s. The cost of the exams seemed a bit daunting; but eventually I was able to get my employer at the time to help pay a portion of it. Receiving notification that I passed the lab at the PASS Summit last year was one of my favorite career moments so far. 

What do you feel are the top 5 most exciting features to have come out in SQL Server over the past 3 years? 

There have been a lot for new features added to SQL Server, I tend to geek out over the smaller TSQL Language enhancements; but I have to say that the clustered columnstore indexes in 2014 and the new cardinality estimation model will help a lot of folks get around there current performance problems. Currently I’m really digging into a lot of the Power BI features including getting up to speed with power query which I think is getting close to making a huge impact on the way we do ETL and the types of data we can reach and surface out to our end users. 

This year will be your first time presenting at the annual PASS Summit. That’s a big event. How excited are you about being selected? 

I’ve spoken at a lot of SQ Saturdays and numerous other events including the PASS Business Analytics conference this past April, but speaking at the Summit will be an interesting experience for sure. There are a lot of other good geospatial sessions as well and I hope I can spark some interest and show folks how they can deliver some geospatial reporting visualizations that push the limits of the SSRS and the other reporting toolsets. 

You will be traveling all the way from Denver for this event. What are some things you like to do for fun in the Mile High city? What made you choose to submit to Orlando’s SQLSaturday? 

Back in Denver I spend a fair amount of time up in the mountains snowboarding in the winter and hiking in the summer. I didn’t really have much of a choice, Karla (who me?!) told me I was going and that was it. Plus the family was interested in seeing Walt Disney World so in the end there really wasn’t much debate on the issue. 

One last question, as I’m sure inquiring minds are wondering. Your close friends in the #sqlfamily often call you Cannonball. How did you come to earn such an attractive nickname? 

John Morehouse and Dan Hess gave that name to me. I think it’s from the movie Cannonball Run, because I always jump into things full speed ahead without forethought. But you may want to ask them, maybe they are talking about my beer gut. 

We look forward to having you here Jason!  

Get full details here on Jason’s seminar on Dimensional Modeling. Next week I’ll post the interview with David Pless, in the meantime, you can read up on David’s seminar here.  You’ll see on these websites that we are offering a $20 discount if you sign for both day’s seminars, but seats are filling fast, so get your seat reserved today!

From → SQLSaturday

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